By Nadav Avni, Marketing Director at Radix Technologies
The virtual reality (VR) market is heading for another boom, with growing importance in enterprises. The industry has generated $4.84 billion in 2021 and has seen 6 million VR headsets sold, and is now on track to earn over $12 billion by 2024. Improved technology is making these devices better and cheaper, so sales of headsets are expected to more than double by 2024. As businesses jump on the VR bandwagon for training, entertainment, and even sales and marketing, the need for device management software will become more pronounced.
Expect 2022 to usher in a new era for virtual reality. As technology continues to evolve, users are seeing more and more parts of their work or social life go digital. Let’s look at three trends shaping the direction of the VR market for the next few years, then explore how device management software can help your business use VR technology efficiently and securely.
From social media to the metaverse
The first big story to spark VR news in late 2021/early 2022 was social media star Facebook rebranding itself as Meta. In doing so, the company revealed its grand design to shift from social platforms to the so-called “metaverse.” On December 9, 2021, Meta launched Horizon Worlds, a virtual world for users of Meta’s Oculus VR headsets and motion controllers. Inside Horizon Worlds, users can navigate 3D-generated worlds to play games, collaborate with colleagues, attend virtual events, or just socialize.
In February 2022, Meta reported that Horizon Worlds (and Horizon Venues, Meta’s virtual event platform) now had 300,000 active users. It also now hosts 10,000 separate worlds created by over 20,000 creators. While Horizon Worlds is still in its infancy, you can expect its user base to pick up once new activities become available and celebrities get hooked on the idea. When this happens, expect an increased demand for virtual reality equipment such as headsets and motion controllers. In the future, Meta is also considering potential use for face and eye trackers.
Major hardware improvements
As technology advances, VR equipment will improve in almost every aspect. The chips running the devices are now faster and more powerful, resulting in better performance and faster reaction times. Design improvements also mean the headsets are lighter and more comfortable to wear, meaning users can wear them longer.
Plus, improvements to the manufacturing process and raw material sourcing mean more affordable headsets and controllers. For example, Oculus is now offering its Quest 2 VR headsets for $299, down from Quest’s original cost of $399 or $499, depending on storage size. With lower prices, companies can now build their fleet of VR equipment and even add reliable device management software for all of their training programs. Meanwhile, more players can now partake in the fun of being in the Metaverse.
Due to the growing popularity of VR applications in many major industries, the number of software developers is also increasing exponentially. Businesses in need of custom VR software can now partner with developers at great rates.
Increased demand for enterprise virtual reality
Even before the pandemic, many companies found that VR-assisted training programs are often more effective in retaining training knowledge among workers. Additionally, VR training programs are highly cost effective and scalable. Trainees do not have to travel to headquarters for training; instead, workers from different branches can meet in a virtual environment and get the instructions they need.
With simulators, companies won’t need to shell out recurring costs for traditional hands-on training like fuel and other consumables. VR-based training can also help reduce wear and tear on real company equipment – trainees can first master the use of equipment in a virtual environment, before being given clearance to manipulate the real machines of the company.
Corporate offices can also use virtual reality technology to simulate accidents, emergencies and crisis situations. VR training for these scenarios can be repeated over and over again to deepen procedures. In contrast, simulating real-life emergencies can be time-consuming and expensive.
As the demand for VR technology increases, the need for VR device management software becomes necessary
Like any other hardware device, VR equipment will need ongoing monitoring and regular maintenance to keep it in peak operating condition. Using default device management software is often not enough to ensure that a company’s VR equipment remains up-to-date and secure.
A fleet of VR equipment is a substantial investment, so companies should also invest in reliable and powerful device management software. The ideal software should have no problem connecting to your range of VR devices remotely via cloud access during routine maintenance, updates or security procedures. Ideally, the software should work through Amazon Web Services (AWS) to reduce latency and redundancy and to provide end-to-end security encryption. It should also have no problem following global data privacy standards such as GDPR, CCPA, and HIPAA (for medical devices).
The device management solution should also remain device-agnostic and accept connections from various devices running on different operating systems. Often companies have multiple makes and models working on the same team.
Low-level device management and security
Many employees will be drawn to VR devices out of curiosity, and some may be tempted to tamper with the equipment without permission. That’s why it’s important for corporate system administrators and support teams to maintain control over the devices.
Administrators should assign different levels of user access depending on the job description. For example, support teams may have access to system folders and settings in order to repair, maintain, and update services. Sales, marketing, and management teams can access and analyze user data from every device in the fleet, then use the information to develop their next set of plans and programs. End users and trainees may have restricted access limited to using the device for specific training, integration, or simulation exercises; To maintain device integrity, end users will not have access to other programs, applications, and scan data. Remote connectivity allows system administrators to lock, freeze or disable VR device functions in the event of unauthorized access or outright theft.
Virtual reality devices create hyper-realistic simulations of real work scenarios, helping workers master certain complex tasks, familiarize themselves with processes, or simply get to know their work environment better. While it can be a cost-effective way to provide training and onboarding, operating a fleet of VR devices is a substantial investment for a business. It is important that these devices come with reliable VR device management software that can keep them in peak condition.